HOW VOGUE WENT ROGUE
BY RACHELLE EVANS
“Mass with class—that’s my mantra.” In speaking these words, Anna Wintour revealed her genius advertising style. This expertise eventually landed Vogue with the title of the most famous fashion magazine in the world with the highest revenue of any fashion publication ever. She wanted to involve the masses in couture in a sophisticated way, a combination that was seen as impossible before Anna attempted it.
The fashion world could have never guessed that a woman only ever seen in her signature bob, sunglasses, and a mid-length dress would change the industry so dramatically. But, when Anna Wintour took over as Vogue’s editor in chief in 1988, the magazine fully solidified its influence on trends and fashion culture with her gaining respect as the leading contributor to its success.
This was only accomplished because of Anna’s commitment to skyrocketing the magazine’s influence from the minute she signed on. Anna began to build her and Vogue’s brand as household names by launching the careers of the renowned 90s supermodels; Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, and more all had close-knit professional relationships and friendships with Anna. Immediately after booking Vogue, they built their careers, and left Vogue with a reputation of being the most prestigious job a model can book.
Anna’s revolutionary work did not end with models. She led the initiative to move Vogue online in the 90s despite pushback from critics and her colleagues which immediately spiked their sales and reach. She hosted and took over the Met Gala as chairwoman, changing the world’s perception of it from a regular high-society ball to the most anticipated fashion event of the year. The Met alone has introduced looks that will be regarded as high-fashion for centuries. Rihanna’s yellow Heavenly Bodies theme look from 2018 is ingrained in the public’s minds, and is joined by hundreds of other contributions from designers and celebrities that elevate the fabrics.
The tireless contributions of Anna to Vogue and increasing innovation in the fashion industry paid off big time. In her first decade as Editor-in-Chief, Vogue's advertisement revenue climbed from $87 million to $150 million. Today, Vogue has an estimated revenue of $300 million that upwards at $500 million that is only estimated to increase throughout the next five years. Following suit in Anna’s vision, it is safe to say that Vogue has reached the masses while retaining its prestigious reputation – and profiting from it too. Anna is worth $50 million herself, a huge jump from her $50,000 salary as a creative director in the 80s. Anna’s business and marketing strategies allowed Vogue to keep and grow its audience and push new trends and styles into fashion markets, continuing to increase their earnings.
The genius of Anna Wintour and her ability to push the Vogue label to take risks and foster innovation solidified the vast cultural relevance the magazine has today. Anna Wintour found a new way to connect class and content by connecting to readers from various wealth and geographic backgrounds instead of isolating them from the world of fashion. Vogue’s editor in chief and the Met Gala’s chairwoman will forever remain as a role model to those looking to make a start in the industry, proving that moving with cultural changes will eventually allow someone to create their own cultural changes. With the challenges she takes on, freshness she brings to the industry, and her increasing influence, dedicated fans and skeptical critics alike wait eagerly for Anna Wintour’s next move.